Today I have a very lively and interesting Q&A with Angie Sammons, a journalist whom wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s the sort of person you want on your side if you enter a debate. As I am sure even if she was wrong, she still could convince you that she was wasn’t. Dedicated to her home town and manages to keep the city informed of everything cultural through her very informative website Liverpool Confidential.
1. You come from a city steeped in music, Liverpool. Is there a particular era that holds most to you and why? There are several that meld into one: The tail end of the 1970’s were formative times: I watched and listened to the likes of the Bunnymen and the Teardrops. This segued into the early to mid 1980s and who can forget swishing about The State Ballroom and Pickwick’s while the likes of the Pale Fountains and The Wild Swans held fashionable swagger? Yes I can see the attraction of such bands.
Then, after undergoing house arrest for a couple of years, it all started again in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There were further adventures working at The Citadel, St. Helens, promoting all the big ravey names from Manchester, clearing up the smashed up dressing rooms after them, whilst finding time to front a Liverpool electro-house combo called Where’s The Beach. Peel liked us a lot. She ligged, she swigged, she gigged. Well there’s no denying that indeed!
2. You run the Liverpool Confidential website, which readers should take a look at. Is there an article on it that you feel was a success? If by a success you mean having an effect then there have been a few. We were able to nip disaster in the bud for the Mello Mello bar this year, a much-loved social enterprise which was suddenly stripped of its rates relief and almost closed. We were also instrumental in having an unworkable city policy to curtail buskers thrown out – and all in the same month. Yes funnily enough I remember the guy who was campaigning about the buskers came up to us strangely enough at Mello Mello bar at the event for the Bill Drummond ‘100’ book.
3. Knowing you, yes those cookery tweets often stop me in my tracks, I know you like baking so what would you say you do best? ‘Crazy’, by Patsy Cline.
4. Within your career in journalism who was the most interesting person you found to be interviewed and why? Tony Wilson in 2001, when ‘24-Hour Party People‘ came out. I got the entire morning in his flat. A force of nature. Auras like his are rare and to find yourself in one with a legitimate purpose, such as a face-to-face interview – is what feature writing is all about.
5. What was the first gig you went to? I idolised The Beatles when I was a kid, even though I came to them years after they’d split up. It was unusual, and it led to many a thrashing in school. It was only a matter of time before The Rutles earned a place in my limited musical affections. One Friday night, I read a tiny snippet by Stanley Reynolds, in the Liverpool Echo, which informed me that Ron Nasty himself, Neil Innes, would be appearing that Sunday at some festival in town.
It was June 4, 1978, when I skipped around the corner from a dull, monochrome city centre into Mathew Street and encountered a vivid, Technicolor world. Innes was a no-show, but I was rooted to the spot. And although I would be in trouble once I eventually went home, I stuck around to watch some noisy bastards on a makeshift outdoor stage emitting this shattering cacophony. It was startling.
It was a big day. People jumping off high buildings into a gigantic skip of custard, open top cars, Carmen Miranda’s, hippies, punks and blazered fops and flaneurs. The whole thing was to celebrate Carl Jung and that day I learned that Liverpool was the Pool of Life. I forgot about The Rutles. Things were never the same after that. I still have a deep affection for The Rutles it must be said. So strictly speaking, the answer is Big in Japan – for it was they making the racket on the stage. The best? Probably all of that mentioned above, as it had major consequences. The last? A Sir Henry at Rawlinson’s End homage, just over a month ago, which I was reviewing. Oddly enough, Neil Innes was performing. The circle squared. Strange how life has a way of doing this to people.
6. Within Liverpool the city has seen many concert venues come and go. Which one holds the most affection to you? Being too young for the aforementioned Eric’s, I could often be found in its Fleet Street successor, The Warehouse. Doreen Allen on the door, Kenny The Warehouse Bouncer, whose name was always sung to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Gigs – Kid Creole and The Coconuts, Pigbag, the Human League, Heaven 17, Dead Kennedys, Killing Joke and Mari Wilson and the Wilsations spring to mind – were all followed by long walks home back to Old Swan in the early hours. It was a smelly, horrible place and I had no affection for it whatsoever.
7. If you could pick five songs to be the soundtrack to your life what would they be?
- ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, Simon & Garfunkel, is the first song I remember in its moment. Waking up after midnight, mum doing the ironing downstairs, Radio Luxembourg crackling away. Yes that station often did.
- ‘Afternoon Delight’ by The Starland Vocal Band. The sunny, innocent days of childhood and the buttercup meadows of Knotty Ash. However, I now understand it to be completely filthy.
- ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’, Buzzcocks. The first single I bought and the greatest. The first gig I went to see was one of theirs back in 1979.
- ‘A Walk In the Night’ , Junior Walker and The Allstars, The Granada close-down music.
- ‘Let’s Dance’, David Bowie. I am IMMEDIATELY back in the laser-lit State Ballroom, swaying through the crowd to an empty space, with no plans to go to bed until tomorrow morning.
8. If you cooked for a dinner party of six who would you invite (dead or alive)? What reasons for the choice?
- Emily Bronte – how did a spinster schoolteacher from Haworth come to create the most ferally passionate story in literature?
- Amy Winehouse – although she’d have to stop at the offy on the way.
- The 10th Doctor – yes please. David Tennant for the uninitiated.
- Ken Campbell – I was once in this situation and it was interesting to say the least
- Dorothy Parker – She once said: “Four be the things I’d have been better without: love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.” I would like permission to use that as my epitaph.
- Peter Cooke – you can see this getting messy, can’t you? It certainly could easily get out of hand round that table.
9. Apart from your home town, where else do like visiting for its culture? Nantes – the Iles des Machines workshops are, literally, a cultural powerhouse. A fabulous city that faces west, like Liverpool.
10. What’s next for you, any plans or aspirations? The future, for me, is as meaningless as the past, so I don’t try to mess with the journey.
Well there you have it, Angie Sammons certainly doesn’t hold back and I must again thank her for her time. Please go check out her website, Liverpool Confidential, there’s always something for everyone. You can contact her via her Twitter feed too. She’s an extremely enthusiastic and passionate about her surroundings and someone I’m very glad I know.